With the unemployment rate at 3.7% in June 2019 and never higher than 4% for any month this year, people seeking jobs face a favorable market. Women in particular stand to benefit from this scenario.
Why? Simply put, companies need workers. Women left the workforce at twice the rate of men in the three years prior to 2015, so encouraging them to come back opens up a valuable pool of talent. Likewise, luring women who are currently employed to join a new organization necessitates measures that make a switch worth their while.
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Here’s a look at how women may profit from the current job market:
Often serving as primary caregivers for children and elderly parents, many women want jobs that allow greater control over where and when tasks get done. In fact, in a FlexJobs survey of more than 900 stay-at-home parents, 36% said they wanted to keep working but their job was too inflexible. Savvy employers are taking note of such information, with 81% of businesses “adapting to improve talent retention by introducing flexible working.”
Companies being open to remote arrangements could prove a godsend to military spouses, the majority of whom are women. The unemployment rate for active duty military spouses stands at a hefty 24%, and many others only work part-time even if they’d prefer a full-time job.
Better pay and benefits
Employers know that a fatter paycheck makes working more attractive regardless of gender. But for women contemplating a return to the workforce, extra financial incentive might tip the scale by making employment more “worth it.” Attractive compensation helps with issues such as securing quality child care and hiring household help, as well as with lifestyle improvements like affording a vacation or building a bank account.
A prosperous job market also means women who are currently employed often can seek a higher salary to stay where they’re at or when negotiating with a different organization. And whether long-established or new to the current workforce, all women can appreciate the increase in employers offering family-friendly benefits such as on-site lactation rooms and paid personal leave separate from vacation or sick leave.
Employer help in the return-to-work process
Women nervous about going back to work after an employment gap may find highly hospitable conditions because of the current state of the market. Employers want not only to find talent but for their hires to stay and succeed—and they’re willing to assist with the process through professional development and mentoring.
“The idea of a returnship is something we take seriously,” says Pete Sosnowski, head of HR for ResumeLab. “Attracting the best talent who aligns with our goals is a key measure for our HR team. If someone has taken some time off of work and hasn’t been in the job market for some time, we offer a three-month trial period. It’s an opportunity for women who have been out of the workforce to learn new skills, sharpen others, and transform their career onto a different path.”
More open-minded employers
Finally, a hot job market makes it a great time for women to really think about their career goals and how to obtain them. Women who have experienced difficulty breaking into nontraditional fields such as construction and manufacturing may find employers short on talent now amenable. Other women may find the time ripe to ask for a promotion, change careers, or reconstruct their current position into something more satisfying.
“It is imperative for us as leaders to empower our employees and potential candidates,” says executive, international speaker, and author Hope Mueller. “We need to take extra caution when considering female employees and candidates. Even out of kindness, we think they might want less hours, more flexibility, or shirk growth opportunities. In a hot job market, these are the small actions and words that may burn a potential employer. Especially now, companies must encourage female employees and job seekers to direct their own careers, deciding for themselves the appropriate balance for work and home life.”
This article originally appeared on FlexJobs.